New England Patriots Links 2/16/11 - Matt Light Not Hopeful Labor Agreement Will Be Reached Before March 4 Deadline

Karen Guregian reports Patriots player rep Matt Light hopes he's wrong, but he doesn't see a labor agreement in place before the deadline and is troubled by all the jobs that will be lost by a work stoppage.

"I never assume anything, but I think everybody feels as though there’s not going to be a deal done by (midnight March 3), so I don’t see it happening," said Light, who was at Boston’s Tico restaurant last night for a celebration of the accomplishments of the Greg Hill Foundation in its first 260 days. "I just hope I’m wrong."

"Look, at this point, believe nothing that you hear and none of which you see. I just think it’s a bad state right now," Light said. "It’s a bunch of people who are arguing over points that have nothing to do with what’s at the heart of the matter. Unfortunately, all the players and fans and everyone that’s affiliated through the NFL in some way and some shape, they’re all being affected by it. And that’s a lot of people. That’s not just the players. That’s not just the owners. That’s a huge industry that’s wrapped around a lot of good people (who) at the end of the day just want to see a deal get done."

"I don’t think anyone is naive enough to believe the players just want more money. We’ve never asked for more money ever," he said. "So if that is the only message we can get out, that’s the only one we need to say. It doesn’t do any good to bash each other. The players have never asked for more money than what they’ve gotten. They’ve definitely been asked to give back 18 percent, so that’s pretty much that simple."

Tim Britton notes Devin McCourty spoke at The Hall at Patriot Place and was asked about the labor uncertainty surrounding the 2011 season.

"The owners know the fans love watching the game. The ratings get higher and higher," said McCourty, who took a labor class at Rutgers. "Like all labor negotiations, it'll probably come down to the end."

The cornerback, entering his second season with the Patriots, isn't letting the possibility of a lockout affect his off-season work.

"It's weird, but like Coach Belichick said, you know football's going to come at some point," McCourty said. "I'm attacking it.... I think they'll get it done, and as a professional athlete, it's our job to keep training and be ready."

One thing he doesn't want to see, though, is an 18-game regular season. "I know how I feel as a rookie after 16 games," he said. "I hope we don't have to play 18 games. That'll hurt."

Karen Guregian reports Stephen Gostkowski believes he'll be booming the ball deep into the end zone again, after he tore the quadriceps muscle right off the bone of his kicking leg.

"The rehab has been going well. I’ve been doing what (the trainers) say, and taking it step by step,’’ Gostkowski said yesterday after addressing 25 students from Silver Lake Regional Middle School as part of the NFL and National Dairy Council’s in-school nutrition and physical activity program.

"When I start kicking again, it’s (going to be) a feel kind of thing. But they’re confident I should feel no effects here in a little while and I should be ready to go.’’

"There’s no real time frame as far as actual kicking a ball. I’ll kick a soccer ball around just to feel the load on my leg,’’ he said. "But to when I start my normal season procedures, I have no idea, because I’m in their hands and doing what they tell me to do. Right now, if I feel like I could go out and kick 100 field goals, it might not be what they feel is best for me. So I just hand it over to the people who know a lot more than me, and do what they say.’’

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